Monday, October 10, 2011




White strips of rags

Dangle and wave attached to the tips of bamboo rods

Knuckle jointed

Fifteen feet long

One grasped in each sinewy hand

Of the Vietnamese duck man

As he steers this hungry flock

From one rice paddy to the next

Eating the insects that would wish

To snack on

Fresh green shoots

Quacking foul and boisterous as

Traffic in a Hanoi roundabout

The face of a clock

Reading quarter past ten

His arms soaring forward

As if outstretched wings

The birds nested in the center

Of the walking flock are of little concern

To the leather weathered skinned duck man

It is the outliers that he eyes

From beneath his straw non la

Those few who would rather snap at the muslin scraps

Than attend to the task at hand

Just as one is gently tapped back in at the right

Another attempts to escape to the left

Dreaming of pastures not within the constrictions

Of this day's curriculum

And every good tender of livestock knows

One never plays favorites


How can he help but admire

Those who push at the edges

The ones

Who make him work

The hardest?

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